Mushroom's instrumental psychedelic jazz rock has a cinematic and thematic vibe. Their music has been short listed several
times for use in major movie soundtracks (most recently for Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films) and several indie film-makers have used their services, notably a PBS documentary on San Francisco's drug/underworld counter-culture.
Glazed Popems - Mushroom's double album (a 2 CD set) features a "London" and an "Oakland" disc. When new keyboardist Matt
Cunitz arrived with an original 1960's Mellotron (love those cello and string sounds) and a vintage electric Harpsichord much of the material shifted to Mushroom's early 1970's English "art rock" roots; vintage King Crimson, post-Syd Barrett/pre-Dark Side Of The Moon era Pink Floyd, the folky acoustic vibe of Led Zeppelin III, and the organic jazz rock of Traffic.
The "London" disc represents these influences coupled with "acid folk". No surprise when you consider Mushroom band leader/producer Pat Thomas spent a year before forming Mushroom traveling through the English countryside where he had the pleasure of hanging out with Incredible String Band founder Clive Palmer, Polly Bolton of Dando Shaft, folk pioneers Shirley Collins and Davey Graham, as well as Fairport Convention's Ashley Hutchings. During his time with these obscure, but important English folk rockers Thomas soaked in as much as he could, which later inspired ideas for the material found on disc one, a blend of psych-folk-prog stylings.
After it was recorded, the band realized not only was there enough material for a double album, but the music
seemed to fit either into a pastoral, baroque English countryside vein or the band's own hometown streets of Oakland, a funk-jazz-soul hybrid albeit with a strong early 1970's experimental, European bent.
New Mushroom members include trombone player Mike Rinta currently in
soul legend Howard Tate's band and in the past has played on stage with
Santana, Herbie Hancock and Buddy Guy amongst others. Mushroom's other
new keyboardist Brian Felix of jazz/jam band OM Trio makes a solid
contribution to these recordings, while guitarist Tim Plowman (formerly
with 1980's cult band Slovenly) sounds like the missing link between
Sonny Sharrock and Tom Verlaine. Sax, clarinet, trumpet and overall
instrument maverick Ralph Carney (whose resume includes everyone from
Tin Huey, Marc Ribot, Pere Ubu's David Thomas to Oranj Symphonette, Bill
Laswell, Allen Ginsberg and points inbetween) is another addition to the
Notable long time Mushroom members include percussionist/marimba man
Dave Mihaly (who also performs with singer/songwriter Jolie Holland),
Mushroom co-founder Erik Pearson leads the pack on various guitars, sax
and flute, cameo vocalist & keyboardist Alison Levy (of the Loud Family
and a recording artist in her own right), drummer/producer Pat Thomas and bassist
Pitchfork Media.com: Mushroom tossed the analog weirdness of Füxa, and
the jagged experimentalism of Can into a dark, smoking concoction
alongside acid-fried Funkadelic, Jack Johnson-style Miles Davis and even
some groove-addled Medeski, Martin & Wood. The result was some of the
most instantly accessible outrock around, exploratory, up and
infectious. It's rich and trippy party music for ass and head.
Seattle Weekly: The Krautrockin' cadets of Mushroom hit their marks
throughout, additionally serving up a handful of 'shroomy originals,
notably a droney space-jazz instrumental called "Even the Beatles Had
Beards" and a wigged-out slab of tribal psych-jazz and funkadelica
smartly titled "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, But It Will Be
Auctioned Off on e-Bay." Extra points for lithesome nude artwork, 'cause
the vibe here is definitely communal and swingin'.
The Village Voice: Mushroom are the bastard children of electric Miles, the Brit-prog Canterbury scene, Krautrock, and that timeless Frisco Crisco. The blend may not be archetypal, but it keeps with the slipstream sounds of today heard in groups as diverse as the Sun City Girls, Tortoise, Medeski Martin & Wood, and virtually everyone featured in the last few issues of Signal to Noise. Psychedelic revelation mixing funky keyboards, guitar Frippery, stiff-swinging horns, and Mellotron textures ...as though the 'Shroom had breached a portal into a hot 1973 Henry Cow session... makes you hear the past with new ears.
Down Beat: their unusual mixture of old-school fusion and vintage prog-rock has only just begun to turn younger heads in their direction... Mushroom invoke the revolutionary spirit of days gone by. Piling loads of studio textures and electronic/analog keyboards on top of a cooking rhythm section and wailing guitars, Mushroom whip up the multicolored jazz-funk alongside sonic space traveling that echoes classic German and English instrumental rock of the 70's.
All Music Guide: Though the Mushroom collective has been pegged as space rockers, their sound is in fact an
amalgam of sonic substances that defies easy classification. Songs reside at the blurred edges of psychedelic rock, muscular funk, electric jazz, musique concrete, and void-like ambiance.